category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 17

Tuesday,  December 19

2 Kings 2:9-22; Acts 3:17-4:4

“Come, thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in thee.” These words by the hymn writer Charles Wesley often ring in our ears and leap from our lips during the first few Sundays of Advent. The scriptures promise that the people of God who are redeemed and set free are given rest with the coming of the long-expected Christ. Christ who brings rest is the Prince of Peace referenced by Isaiah 9. The peace that Christ brings is one that supersedes darkness, political division, oppression, and war. The babe born in Bethlehem will supplant these things with joy, might, peace, and righteous rule forever. This glorious reign will not only be in place forever, but this transcendent peace will zealously be accomplished by the sovereign ruler of all.

As 21st century followers of Jesus, our minds and hearts are often fraught with complex concerns and anxiety that are born out of the negative effects of the fall. Our world is filled with uncertainty and pain, and we struggle to reconcile the heartache of the world with the peace of the glorious kingdom. We experience a sense of longing, a longing for peaceful rest. That longing within us comes to fruition at the revelation of Christ. Wesley’s hymn text explains that we have been released from these fears and sins, ushering us into release and rest in the Prince of Peace. In Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, he reminds the followers, “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This peace is one of right standing, no longer being at enmity with God because of our sin but at peace with God because of Christ. This peace means we no longer war against God as enemies, but we are restored.

During this Advent season, when we are preparing our hearts, minds, and spirits once again to celebrate the long-expected Jesus, I pray we will take stock of our position in Christ. We have been set free from our fears and sins; we’ve been delivered from darkness and oppression, leading us to peaceful rest. Through the lens of Isaiah 9 and Romans 5, may we reflect on the peace offered to us because we have assumed the righteousness of Christ. Though all things around us are abuzz with activity and with the best of intentions we are working feverishly to provide the memorable Christmas for ourselves and family, Wesley encourages us to find rest in these days. As we move toward that Holy Night, may we seek to take every thought and moment captive, making them obedient unto Christ so that we can savor the peace and rest we have in the Prince of Peace, our long-expected Jesus.

Steve Sellers
School of Divinity Student

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 16

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2023 Advent Devotion: Day 18

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